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The Muslim Woman and Her Husband

The Muslim Woman and Her Husband

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Published by Zamir Ahmed
The Muslim Woman and Her Husband
The Muslim Woman and Her Husband

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Published by: Zamir Ahmed on Dec 29, 2009
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06/16/2013

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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful 
 
THE MUSLIM WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND
 
Marriage in Islam
 In Islam, marriage is a blessed contract between a man and a woman, in which eachbecomes “permitted” to the other, and they begin the long journey of life in a spirit of love, co-operation, harmony and tolerance, where each feels at ease with the other, and findstranquility, contentment and comfort in the company of the other. The Qur’aan has describedthis relationship between men and women, which brings love, harmony, trust andcompassion, in the most moving and eloquent terms:
(And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves,that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy betweenyour [hearts] . . . (Qur’aan 30:21)
This is the strongest of bonds, in which Allah (subhaanahu wa ‘ta’aalaa) unites the twoMuslim partners, who come together on the basis of love, understanding, co-operation andmutual advice, and establish a Muslim family in which children will live and grow up, and theywill develop the good character and behavior taught by Islam. The Muslim family is thestrongest component of a Muslim society when its members are productive and constructive,helping and encouraging one another to be good and righteous, and competing with oneanother in good works.The righteous woman is the pillar, cornerstone and foundation of the Muslim family. She isseen as the greatest joy in a man’s life, as the Prophet said:“This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this world is a righteouswoman.”
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 A righteous woman is the greatest blessing that Allah (subhaanahu wa ‘ta’aalaa) can give to aman, for with her he can find comfort and rest after the exhausting struggle of earning a living.With his wife, he can find incomparable tranquility and pleasure.How can a woman be the best comfort in this world? How can she be a successful woman,true to her own femininity, and honored and loved? This is what will be explained in thefollowing pages:
She chooses a good husband
 One of the ways in which Islam has honored woman is by giving her the right to choose herhusband. Her parents have no right to force her to marry someone she dislikes. The Muslimwoman knows this right, but she does not reject the advice and guidance of her parents whena potential suitor comes along, because they have her best interests at heart, and they havemore experience of life and people. At the same time, she does not forego this right becauseof her father’s wishes that may make him force his daughter into a marriage with someoneshe dislikes.There are many texts that support the woman in this sensitive issue, for example the reportquoted by Imam Al-Bukhaari from al-Khansa’ bint Khidam:
 
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“My father married me to his nephew, and I did not like this match, so I complained to theMessenger of Allah . He said to me: ‘Accept what your father has arranged.’ I said, ‘I donot wish to accept what my father has arranged.’ He said, ‘Then this marriage is invalid, goand marry whomever you wish.’ I said, ‘I have accepted what my father has arranged, but Iwanted women to know that fathers have no right in their daughter’s matters (i.e. they haveno right to force a marriage on them).’”
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 At first, the Prophet told al-Khansa’ to obey her father, and this is as it should be, becausethe concern of fathers for their daughters’ well being is well known. But when he realized thather father wanted to force her into a marriage she did not want, he gave her the freedom tochoose, and saved her from the oppression of a father who wanted to force her into anunwanted marriage.Islam does not want to impose an unbearable burden on women by forcing them to marry aman they dislike, because it wants marriages to be successful, based on compatibilitybetween the partners; there should be common ground between them in terms of physicallooks, attitudes, habits, inclinations and aspirations. If something goes wrong, and the womanfeels that she cannot love her husband sincerely, and fears that she may commit the sin ofdisobeying and opposing this husband whom she does not love, then she may ask for adivorce. This is confirmed by the report in which the wife of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas,Jamilah the sister of ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy, came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger ofAllah, I have nothing against Thabit ibn Qays as regards his religion or his behavior, but I hateto commit any act of
kufr 
when I am a Muslim. The Prophet said: “Will you give his gardenback to him?” - her
mahr 
had been a garden. She said, “Yes.” So the Messenger of Allah sentword to him: “Take back your garden, and give her one pronouncement of divorce.”
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 According to a report given by Al-Bukhaari from Ibn ‘Abbas, she said, “I do not blame Thabitfor anything with regard to his religion or his behavior, but I do not like him.”Islam has protected woman’s pride and humanity, and has respected her wishes with regardto the choice of a husband with whom she will spend the rest of her life. It is not acceptablefor anyone, no matter who he is, to force a woman into a marriage with a man she does notlike.There is no clearer indication of this than the story of Barirah, an Ethiopian slave-girl whobelonged to ‘Utbah ibn Abu Lahab, who forced her to marry another slave whose name wasMughith. She would never have accepted him as a husband if she had been in control of herown affairs. ‘A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) took pity on her, so she bought her andset her free. Then this young woman felt that she was free and in control of her own affairs,and that she could take a decision about her marriage. She asked her husband for a divorce.Her husband used to follow her, weeping, whilst she rejected him. Al-Bukhaari quotes Ibn‘Abbas describing this freed woman who insisted on the annulment of her marriage tosomeone she did not love; the big-hearted Prophet commented on this moving sight, andsought to intervene. Ibn ‘Abbas said:“Barirah’s husband was a slave, who was known as Mughith. I can almost see him,running after her and crying, with tears running down onto his beard. The Prophet saidto ‘Abbas, ‘O ‘Abbas, do you not find it strange, how much Mugith loves Barirah, and howmuch Barirah hates Mughith?’ The Prophet said (to Barirah), ‘Why do you not go backto him?’ She said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, are you commanding me to do so?’ He said, ‘Iam merely trying to intervene on his behalf.’ She said, ‘I have no need of him.’”
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 The Prophet was deeply moved by this display of human emotion: deep andoverwhelming love on the part of the husband, and equally powerful hatred on the part of thewife. He could not help but remind the wife, and ask her why she did not go back to him, ashe was her husband and the father of her child. This believing woman asked him, whether hewas ordering her to do so: was this a command, a binding obligation? The Prophet , thisgreat law-giver and educator, replied that he was merely trying to intercede and bring aboutreconciliation if possible; he was not trying to force anybody to do something they did not wish
 
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to. Let those stubborn, hard-hearted fathers who oppress their own daughters listen to theteaching of the Prophet !The Muslim woman who understands the teachings of her religion has wise and correctstandards when it comes to choosing a husband. She does not concern herself just with goodlooks, high status, a luxurious lifestyle or any of the other things that usually attract women.She looks into his level of religious commitment and his attitude and behavior, because theseare the pillars of a successful marriage, and the best features of a husband. Islamic teachingindicates the importance of these qualities in a potential husband, as Islam obliges a womanto accept the proposal of anyone who has these qualities, lest
fitnah 
and corruption becomewidespread in society:“If there comes to you one with whose religion and attitude you are satisfied, then give yourdaughter to him in marriage, for if you do not do so,
fitnah 
and mischief will becomewidespread on earth.”
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 Just as the true Muslim young man will not be attracted to the pretty girls who have grown upin a bad environment, so the Muslim young woman who is guided by her religion will not beattracted to stupid “play-boy” types, no matter how handsome they may be. Rather she will beattracted to the serious, educated, believing man who is clean-living and pure of heart, whosebehavior is good and whose understanding of religion is sound. No one is a suitable partnerfor the good, believing woman except a good, believing man; and no one is a suitable partnerfor the wayward, immoral woman but a wayward, immoral man, as Allah (subhaanahu wa‘ta’aalaa) has said:
Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure, and women ofpurity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity . . . (Qur’aan24:26)
This does not mean that the Muslim woman should completely ignore the matter of physicalappearance, and put up with unattractiveness or ugliness. It is her right - as stated above - tomarry a man for whom her heart may be filled with love, and who is pleasing to her both in hisappearance and in his conduct. Appearance should not be neglected at the expense of innernature, or vice versa. A woman should choose a man who is attractive to her in all aspects,one who will gain her admiration and respect. The true Muslim woman is never dazzled byoutward appearances, and she never lets them distract her from seeing the essence of apotential spouse.The Muslim woman knows that the man has the right of
qiwaamah 
over her, as the Qur’aansays:
(Men are the protectors and maintainers [qawwaamun] of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means . . .) 
(Qur’aan 4:34)Hence she wants to marry a man of whose
qiwaamah 
over her she will feel proud, one whomshe will be happy to marry and never regret it. She wants a man who will take her hand in hisand set out to fulfill their life’s mission of establishing a Muslim family and raising a newgeneration of intelligent and caring children, in an atmosphere of love and harmony, which willnot be impeded by conflicting attitudes or religious differences. Believing men and believingwomen are supposed to walk side-by-side on the journey of life, which is a serious matter forthe believer, so that they may fulfill the great mission with which Allah (subhaanahu wa‘ta’aalaa) has entrusted mankind, men and women alike, as the Qur’aan says:
(For Muslim men and women - for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are constant and patient,for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity,for men and women who fast [and deny themselves], for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise - for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.) 
(Qur’aan
 
33:35)

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